The day after the first presidential debate of 2012 in Denver, CO, this headline from the Boston Herald says it all… (Oct 4, 2012)
I was going to begin this article by saying Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama went eyeball to eyeball last night in Denver, but that wasn’t the case. It was a night of Romney focusing on Obama, looking directly into his eyes, while Obama’s eyes were oft-times focused… downward… as if he was willing the lectern to morph into his teleprompter. And, in my opinion, as if he knew Romney was on to him. The Boston Herald headline above encapsulates the evening.
Romney seemed to relish the opportunity to speak to Americans without the filter of the nefarious news media. He was the man we know and admire – very well-prepared, precise, focused, in control, filled with conviction and compassion, showed humor, aggressive while affable, and was completely at ease.
Obama was flat, subdued, distracted, passive, at times churlish and bewildered that his royal-highness-stature-and-personality wasn’t cutting the mustard. At one point Obama asked moderator Jim Lehrer to move off a topic (a first!).
From the get-go, Obama attempted to set the campaign narrative as not what has happened in the last four years, but what will happen if he’s given four MORE years. He couldn’t be standing on shakier, flakier ground.
Some Obama proponents today are claiming moderator Jim Lehrer was weak or favored Romney. Not so. Obama was given four more minutes of speaking time – over Romney. The Governor delivered far more substance in his allotted time than Obama with his extra OVERtime. And, Lehrer appeared at times to attempt to coach Obama via his questions, trying to prompt him to give a more cogent response.
Last night’s debate aptly illustrated by Gary Varvel, Oct 4, 2012
Clash of the titans? The only titan present in this race is Mitt Romney.
I’m delighted at what is being said about the Duel in Denver (from Mitt Romney Press):
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter: “And I Think That Mitt Romney, Yes, He Absolutely Wins The Preparation. And He Wins The Style Points.” (CNN’s “CNN Live,” 10/3/12)
ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “It Was Not A Strong Performance By [President Obama].” ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: “Well, I’ve covered President Obama for about six or seven years now and I’ve seen him inspire crowds of tens of thousands and then I also recall the summer of 2007 when he was listless and flat and uninspired and his campaign manager had to knock some sense in him and get him back in the game. Unfortunately for the Obama campaign that’s the Obama I saw on the stage tonight. It was not a strong performance by him.” (ABC, 10/3/12)
Bloomberg’s Joshua Green: “Dominating…” “On Wednesday night, Mitt Romney attempted a hostile takeover of the presidential campaign … dominating President Obama.” (Bloomberg, 10/3/12)
Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “How Tough A Night Was It For The Incumbent? He Even Muffed Some Of The Basics Of Debate 101…” “How tough a night was it for the incumbent? He even muffed some of the basics of Debate 101, struggling to find the right camera to address once or twice during the mostly civil 90-minute exchange.” (Politico, 10/3/12)
After Mitt Romney’s debate performance, his sweet granddaughter rushed on stage to give him a big hug. Oct 3, 2012 (photographer unknown)
Time’s Mark Halperin: “A Performance That Will Both Delight The Republican Base And Make Undecided Voters Take Note. Was The Dominant Figure On The Stage On Almost Every Exchange.” (Time , 10/3/12)
ABC News’ Russell Goldman: “Romney Came Out Swinging In The First Presidential Debate…” “Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first presidential debate, challenging President Obama over his health care reforms, treatment of the economy, taxes and funding for Sesame Street’s Big Bird.” (ABC News, 10/3/12)
BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings: “For Weeks, President Obama’s Advisers Have Been Lowering Expectations … Maybe The Expectations Weren’t Low Enough.” “For weeks, President Obama’s advisers have been lowering expectations for the debate tonight, both privately and publicly forecasting that the Commander in Chief could deliver a dud. Maybe the expectations weren’t low enough.” (BuzzFeed, 10/3/12)
Time’s Joe Klein: “Mitt Romney Won This Debate. Barack Obama Lost It. I Mean, He Got His Butt Kicked.” “Well, I’m with all the other talking heads: Mitt Romney won this debate. Barack Obama lost it. I mean, he got his butt kicked. It was, in fact, one of the most inept performances I’ve ever seen by a sitting President.” (Time , 10/3/12)
Bloomberg’s Ramesh Ponnuru: “Romney Made The Most Focused Appeal To Middle-Class Voters On The Basis Of How His Agenda Would Help Them…” “Romney made the most focused appeal to middle-class voters on the basis of how his agenda would help them — on energy, on health care, on jobs — that he ever has.” (Bloomberg, 10/4/12)
Mitt Romney holds four-month old Ryan Pratt while campaigning at the Pancakes Eggcetera restaurant in Rosemont, Illinois. Romney Campaign embed Garrett Jackson: “Wherever we go there are always a lot of people who want the Gov to hold their babies. With 16 grandkids he’s a pro.” March 16, 2012 ( Photo/Garrett Jackson)
It was pancakes and eggs and FOX & Friends in the Prairie State this morning…
Governor Romney met with voters very early this morning at Pancakes Eggcetera in Rosemont, Illinois to rally support ahead of their delegate-rich primary next Tuesday. He spoke on jobs/economy, gasoline prices, housing market, and Obama’s 18 minute Hollywood created infomercial (*poster below):
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney gavePresident Obama’s new campaign infomercial two thumbs down at an Illinois campaign event on Friday morning.
The “so-called documentary about President Obama is now on the Internet . And you can take a look at it. It’s about 17 or 18 minutes,” Romney said at a diner outside Chicago.
He ridiculed director Davis Guggenheim for remarking recently that he had nothing negative to say about Obama. Romney used that as a takeoff point to attack the president over gas prices, the struggling housing market and continued high unemployment.
“I’ll give you some help, Mr. Guggenheim,” Romney said. “You can make a call to some of the moms that are having a hard time paying for gas as they get their kids to and from school and practice and music lessons. And you can also talk to the people who are having a hard time getting to and from work, given the price of gasoline.”
…Romney said gasoline prices “have gone through the roof, in part because of this president’s failure to develop our energy resources.”
Later, FOX & Friends’ Alisyn Camerota, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade caught up with The Gov at the restaurant. Here’s the interview:
“We’re not gonna drive cars with windmills on them.” ~Mitt Romney
Using the telephone, Romney also held a half-hour townhall with Illinois Republicans. He hammered home the point that Rick Santorum is an ECONOMIC LIGHTWEIGHT :
Romney, in a half-hour telephone town hall to Illinois Republicans solicited by his campaign, warned the state’s voters to beware of Santorum.
“Sen. Santorum, for instance, is going to be campaigning in Illinois,” Romney said. “I think you’ll find he’s an economic lightweight — not because he isn’t an intelligent person but because not having ever spent any time in the private sector. He really doesn’t understand fundamentally what it takes to make this economy grow and thrive and add jobs. The economy is in my wheelhouse, it’s something I know well.”
Romney sought to paint Santorum and Gingrich as lifelong creatures of Washington while portraying himself as spending his life “in the real economy.”
“I’ve actually run things,” Romney said. “Now as you know, we elected three years ago a president who’d never run anything. And it hasn’t worked out so well. And both Speaker Gingrich and Sen. Santorum, like the current president, have not really run anything. I think it helps to have run something and understand the economy by working in the real economy.”
Leaving no media stone unturned, Romney for President released a new television ad today in Illinois titled Wrong Choice:
Rick Santorum’s weakness is the economy and his economic plan has been criticized as the worst of all the GOP candidates. Mitt Romney has proposed the boldest plan since Ronald Reagan and has the leadership experience to lead our country.
Well, the final results aren’t final yet . . . but it’s clear that Romney won this important swing state’s caucus, and won it big. (Update . . . Romney did get just over 50%, but the entrance poll results have just been revised this morning, so much of what you see quoted below is somewhat off from what the linked poll says NOW. Sorry, I’m not going back and re-calculating things at this point).
He’s got 43% of the vote with 43% of precincts reporting, but the results of Clark County (Las Vegas) as not coming in as fast as expected. Don’t fret though Romney fans, Mitt will win a majority of the votes and I’m guessing he’ll be somewhere between 52-55% of the total vote when all is said and done. If things track as closely as they are in the entrance polls, Clark County should go for Mitt by over 60% (and they’ve nailed the non-Clark County…rest of NV…percentage at 43%, exactly how the real results have turned out)
Debunking the “Romney won Nevada because of the Mormon factor” myth:
Yes, Mitt dominated among LDS voters with 90% choosing Romney, BUT (and it’s a very big “but”), EVEN IF NOT A SINGLE MORMON WENT TO VOTE, ROMNEY WOULD HAVE WON THE STATE WITH A 42%-26% margin over Gingrich. Romney won Catholics 52%-19% over Newt and “White Evangelical/Born Again” by a solid margin of 46%-26% over the former Speaker.
Debunking the “See, the poor won’t vote for Romney” myth:
On CNN’s coverage tonight, the anchors/pundits seemed to be getting as much mileage as possible out of the fact that the only economic demographic that Romney did NOT win was those that make $30,000 or less (which were only 10% of the voters in NV last night). They were trying to tie this to Romney’s “I’m not concerned about the very poor” comment and even went on to conclude that this “underscores the fact that blue-collar workers, who you can’t win without their support, do not see that this is a guy that will fight for them.” SERIOUSLY?!?!? I realize that these pundits aren’t statisticians, but it’s pretty straightforward to figure out why he didn’t win this demographic. First off, he hardly “lost” this demographic. Paul and Newt both got 31%, and Mitt got 30%, a virtual 3 way tie for first. Secondly, the age of the voter is VERY determinative of income when looking at your youngest age group especially. Voters aged 18-29 were only 8% of the vote (quite similar to the 10% in that income of $30K or less), and Paul won that group 40% to 39% over Romney. Paul has been wining the young college-aged voters in almost every state . . . it’s his base and he’s definitely turning out this group of folks that do not typically vote in a GOP primary. Good for Paul. But these college kids are a HUGE portion of the “makes less than $30,000 year” group, and I don’t think anyone would consider college kids “the very poor,” they are just in a temporary low-income stage of their lives.
“Strong Moral Character;” Mitt good, Newt Very Very Bad:
In perhaps the most revealing entrance poll finding, those that felt a candidate having “Strong Moral Character” was their number one trait they sought in a President, Mitt got 54% of the vote … Newt got 1% of those voters. No, that is not a typo, ONE PERCENT (Paul got 32% and Santorum got 13%). Looks like Nevada voters are pretty good judges of character, eh? THIS IS WHY YOU’RE LOSING NEWT!! YOU BLAME MITT FOR YOUR LAGGING VOTE TALLIES, BUT YOU NEED TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR BUDDY!
Debunking the “Strong Conservatives and Tea Party voters don’t like Romney” myth:
Like New Hampshire and Florida, Romney, once again, won self-identified conservatives and supporters of the Tea Party in Nevada. This time though, he won A MAJORITY of these groups. Romney beat Newt 54%-21% among conservative voters and 50%-23% among Tea Party supporters. Yet I still see pundit after pundit say that Romney still has a lot of work to do to appeal to conservatives (while they “obviously” love Newt). CAN THEY NOT READ A POLL?!? Among “very conservative” voters he Mitt still won 49%-24% over Newt, and even beat him 39%-30% among those “strongly supportive of Tea Party.” Some narratives are hard to kill, but when a state in the Northeast (NH), Southeast (FL), and West (NV) all show Romney winning conservatives and Tea Party supporters I think it’s proof positive against that media meme. The real take-away/new-media-narrative should be that Newt has work to do to appeal to as many conservatives as Romney has been.
Odds and Ends:
The Economy was the number one (even by a majority) issue on voters minds, and Romney carried these voters by 62%. By an even larger margin, the candidate quality of “Can Defeat Obama” was number one, and Romney absolutely dominated here with 73% of the vote. WOW! “Right Experience” was the top quality to only 15% of voters, but Romney cleaned up here too with 55% (Rick Santorum pulled in a whopping 1% here). Romney also continues to dominate the Suburbs winning with 69% there; historically this is a key demographic for winning a general election.
Newt and some liberals keeps saying that Mitt’s trying to suppress turnout in order to win. When we look at the field compared to 2008, however, I don’t think it’s any surprise that turnout is lower. Last time around there was much more diversity, and much more famous personalities in the field. You had a Pro-Choice candidate with strong personal appeal/popularity in Rudy Giuliani, War Hero John McCain, popular actor Fred Thompson, and folksy former pastor Mike Huckabee in addition to Mitt and Paul all in the race this far into the process. Substituting character-challenged Gingrich and personality/experience-challenged Rick Santorum in place of Giuliani, McCain, Thompson, and Huckabee is beyond even comparing apples and oranges. They all had more money and organization that either Newt or Rick too and that is how turnout is driven. Like all of Newt’s complaints/excuses, this one rings hollow as well.
CONGRATS MITT AND NEVADA!! ANOTHER GREAT WIN FOR ROMNEY!!
UPDATE: I published this post regarding the intense anti-Newt pushback I saw yesterday before seeing the following Politico article, which covers many of the same topics, and is itself a great read. Here’s a salient quote from Politico, then the main body of my original post:
A top conservative media figure said the flood of attacks reflects a “Holy crap, it could happen” moment in the movement, as Republican leaders began to realize after Gingrich’s South Carolina victory that he could become the nominee, the global face and voice of their party and theology.
“It could happen, and it would be a disaster,” said the conservative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect private conversations. “All of us who were around and saw how he operated as speaker — there’s no one who’s not appalled by the prospect of what could happen. He thinks he embodies conservatism and if he wakes up one day and has a grandiose thought, he is going to expect all of us to fall in line behind him.
“There’s just so much risk on so many levels,” the official continued. “Everyone’s thinking, ‘It could really happen.’ He could win the presidency if there’s a way to win with 45 percent — a second recession or a third-party candidate. The immediate worry is him winning the nomination and losing the election, tanking candidates down-ballot. In a worst-case scenario, you could see unified Democratic governance, and we’d be back where we were in ’09 and ’10. It’s insane.”
In what can only be called a deluge of anti-Newt news, people seem to be coming out of the woodwork to tell the real truth about the winner of the South Carolina primaries in order to make sure he doesn’t also win Florida. Insiders know that Newt would be a disastrous nominee for the GOP, and even Nancy Pelosi knows he’d never be president.
Here are a few of my favorite headlines up tonight:
From the Drudge Report: “INSIDER: GINGRICH REPEATEDLY INSULTED REAGAN.” The link is to a National Review story in which a former Reagan administration member tells it like it was regarding Newt: he was often standing against Reagan, particularly in Reagan’s approach to the USSR that Newt today tries to co-opt. Why is this relevant? To hear Newt tell it, he and Ronald Reagan worked hand in hand to defeat communism and save the free world. But in reality while Newt would vote with the caucus, Newt worked against Reagan. One of many damning quotes from this inside source:
Here is Gingrich [saying]: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”
This article is definitely worth a read. It makes clear that Newt does not deserve any of Reagan’s credit for defeating communism.
Next up: “William Jefferson Gingrich.” This article compares Newt’s and Clinton’s most endearing shared qualities. Self-centeredness and a disdain for the rule of law when it disagrees with their own ego. Here’s a good quote, one of many:
Newt and Bill, as 1960s generation self-promoters, share the same duplicity, ostentatious braininess, a propensity for endless scrapes with propriety and the law. They are tireless hustlers. Now Newt is hustling my fellow conservatives in this election. The last time around he successfully hustled conservatives in the House of Representatives and then the conservatives on the House impeachment committee.
He blew the impeachment and in fact his role as Speaker. He backed out in disgrace. He now says Republicans in the House were exhausted with his great projects. Nonsense, I knew many of them, and they were exhausted with his atrocious leadership. He is not a leader. He is a huckster. Today Mitt Romney has 72 Congressional endorsements. Newt has 11. Possibly the 11 have yet to meet him.
Now he has found his key for hustling conservative electorate. He is playing the liberal media card and saying he embodies conservative values. Like Bill with his credulous fans, Newt is hoping conservatives suffer amnesia. Possibly some do. Perhaps they cannot recall mere months ago when this insufferable whiz kid was lambasting the great Congressman Paul Ryan for “right-wing social engineering” — more evidence of Newt’s not-so-hidden longing for the approval of the liberal media.
After his Ryan moment Newt’s campaign was a death wagon, and it will be so again — hopefully before he gets the nomination. Conservatives should not climb onto his death wagon. He is a huckster, and I for one will not be rendered a contortionist trying to defend him. I did so in his earliest days and learned my lesson.
And perhaps the most important quote of the article, warning us against the same result we can expect if we nominate Gingrich (remember Clinton was effectively rendered powerless during the last portion of his presidency due to his personal indiscretions). At a time the GOP really needs the White House to put the country back on the right track, we can’t afford an October surprise, or a post-nomination or post-election surprise:
It’s all downhill from here for Newt … I’m predicting right here and now that Gingrich has hit his high point and is about to whither under the forthcoming information about his last 15 years spent in lobbying/influence-peddling activities. The following will make for a beautiful montage using the disgraced and ousted former Speaker’s own words … and the timing and subject are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want Newt as the nominee. Why? Because it’s Fannie and Freddie and Florida folks! Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and these GSEs (Government Sponsored Entities) were at the root of the problem. This is the perfect storm. The script will play out perfectly.
Remember when Newt said on Fox News “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.”
How about his ludicrous initial claim back in the November CNBC debate that he was paid by them to be a “historian” who told them how “insane” they were?
Sure Newt. At least we now know that he was lying through his teeth. He released one year of this contract yesterday and there was no mention of him being a “historian” but rather he was hired as a “consultant” by and to the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Well, as it turns out, “consultant” was just a euphemism for “lobbyist” and Newt’s whole story doesn’t pass the smell test.
Over a month ago, Mitt challenged Newt on this claim calling Newt “the highest paid historian in history”
a spokeswoman for [Gingrich’s] firm said it was unable to find an earlier contract dating to 1999 and renewed until 2002. The spokeswoman, Susan Meyers, also could not say whether Gingrich or any of its employees produced any written reports for Freddie Mac as part of the nearly $1.8 million in consulting fees it was paid.
Well, today’s news from Politico is especially damning to Newt and proves that he was involved in hard core lobbying efforts for the controversial and beleaguered GSE:
New details from Newt Gingrich’s contracts worth $1.6 million with Freddie Mac show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization. He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors in the spring of 2007.
Shortly after the “rah, rah” speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview for the Freddie Mac website, where he supported the group’s model at length. The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.
Gingrich said in the interview that Freddie has “made an important contribution to home ownership and the housing finance system,” even though many Republicans revile it.
On April 3, 2007, Gingrich gave a presentation to employee donors of Freddie Mac’s political action committee, according to several sources familiar with the presentation. It was the “rah, rah” speech described by a source who worked closely with Freddie at the time. Newt spoke about what was going on in the country and he offered his view of the issues.
That same day, Gingrich spoke to a larger Freddie Mac employee cabal where he explained his vision for transforming bureaucratic government into a “21st century organization” — a signature talking point for Gingrich who focused on technology in government early on.
Later that month, Gingrich also gave a “feature interview” that appeared on Freddie Mac’s website providing an extensive Q&A where the former Speaker of the House defended the government-sponsored enterprise model, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO.
Gingrich went so far as to say that “I’m convinced that if NASA were a GSE, we probably would be on Mars today.”
Freddie Mac declined to comment. A Gingrich spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The housing GSEs have made an important contribution to homeownership and the housing finance system,” Gingrich said in the interview. “We have a much more liquid an stable housing finance system than we would have without GSEs. So while we need to improve the regulation of the GSEs, I would be very cautious about fundamentally changing their role or the model itself.”
Further Gingrich acknowledged that this is not a viewpoint conservatives normally embrace. “Well, it’s not a point of view libertarians would embrace,” he said in the interview. “But I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development.”
Really Newt?!?!? Really People? This is the “conservative alternative” to Mitt?!?! Wow . . . Just wow . . .
These revelations make Newt both a liar and a lobbyist. Sounds like just what Obama would like to run against.
Gingrich — adamant that he wasn’t a lobbyist as he explained why he only released one year of his Freddie Mac contract, which dated to 1999 (he uttered something about going through a confidentiality process) — volunteered that at his firm, they brought in a “lobbying expert” to explain to his team what qualified as lobbying and what didn’t.
That expert “is prepared to testify,” Gingrich said.
Romney didn’t pounce. But why one would hire a “lobbying expert” other than to explain to staff how to walk up to the “bright line” Gingrich described, but not legally cross it, was not clear.
So Newt’s got his lawyer ready to say that Newt never officially lobbied with Fannie/Freddie . . . or at least he was trained/coached as to where that line is. However, what’s that old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . ? Newt’s trying to be too cute by half, and it’s the beginning of the end for him!
The American people want a TRUE DC outsider, that man is NOT Newt . . . it’s Mitt!!
The contract specifically excluded lobbying services, stating “nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities.”
The second contract released Tuesday night provides more detail on the work Gingrich was hired to perform, including “serve as advisor to Freddie Mac in the areas of strategic planning and public policy.” It also called on Gingrich, who is mentioned by name in the second contract, to “engage in discussions” with Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist and senior officers “to strategize on approaches to Freddie Mac business opportunities and challenges.” Gingrich, who was hired to help the company reach out to Republicans, also was expected to “contribute to Freddie Mac corporate planning and business goals” and to “meet with major stakeholders of Freddie Mac.”
The contract also states that “neither The Gingrich Group nor Newt Gingrich will provide lobbying services of any kind nor participate in lobbying activities on Freddie Mac’s behalf.”
OK, so the document essentially says that Newt is going to lobby for Freddie Mac, but that no one can call it or construe it as lobbying. That will play really well with folks, eh?
Even MORE revealing is that Newt’s campaign is trying to pull a switch-a-roo / misdirection trick here by releasing these contracts out of chronological order. So the 1999 contract says “no lobbying” but the 2006 contract contains no such phrase. Anyone notice a problem? Everyone knew and realized that Newt was lobbying and they couldn’t keep that terminology in the later contract. He would be more free in his activities advocating and lobbying in behalf of Freddie.
I believe another poster is going to address Newt’s lobbying to Congressmen for Medicare Part D when he was on the payroll as a consultant from several Pharmaceutical companies who would benefit from it’s passage. Kathleen Parker has just put up a column arguing my exact same point. Newt was a lobbyist:
Gingrich’s claim to have been hired as a historian, meanwhile, is a hard sell when no such role exists. It is also a stretch for him to present himself as an anti-establishment, Reagan-conservative rebel when he is raking in money for his association with companies, some of whose interests are anything but conservative.
Yet another mother lode for Gingrich has been the health care industry. Various companies paid Gingrich $55 million between 2001 and 2010, according to Bloomberg News. When asked what the companies received in return, Gingrich told The Post that they got to visit with “a really important guy who really knows a lot and who really has lots of information.” That person would be Gingrich’s Holy Trinity — Me, Myself and I.
He also earned more than a million from drugmaker Novo Nordisk, reportedly to help expand the U.S. market for its diabetes treatment. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this as long as Gingrich was honest about his role with the company. The company’s annual report to shareholders listed Gingrich under “public-policy activities,” which, the company added, “are often referred to as lobbying.”
He also personally urged GOP congressmen to support the $395 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to, among others, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and former congressmen Jeff Bradley (R-N.H.) and Butch Otter (R-Idaho).
I saw a segment on CNN today with Wolf Blitzer where Rep. Flake flat out stated that Gingrich lobbied him hard on voting for Medicare Part D. Also in that piece I found this nugget:
A lobbyist for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae whose tenure overlapped with Gingrich’s told me on background that both signed the same contract. This person immediately registered as a lobbyist and said that Gingrich was clearly exerting his influence, though he may have been able to maintain a legal, if not entirely ethical, distance from the definition of lobbying.
Oh, and let’s not forget that before Newt’s ties to Freddie/Fannie had been revealed, he was the one spouting off the harshest rhetoric of any GOP candidate calling for investigations and even imprisonment of congressmen who had ties to or profits from Freddie/Fannie. Wonder if he’d like to roll back that charge, or if he’s willing to apply his own harsh charges to the man in the mirror.
So, do you take Newt at his word that “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have. A very important point to make. I have never done lobbying of any kind.” . . . ?
Any way you slice it, Newt is serving up large portions of his own “pious baloney.”
Gov Tim Pawlenty and Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford (Photo Tampa Tribune/Chris Urso)
Today Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford held a hard-hitting conference call stripping Newt Gingrich of his I-wasn’t-a-Freddie-Mac-lobbyist disguise.
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: “NEWT GINGRICH AS A POTENTIAL NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT: REALLY? I MEAN REALLY?”
“His influence-peddling with respect to Freddie Mac to Congress, that needs to be revealed. And so he called upon Governor Romney to be transparent, well Speaker Gingrich needs to be transparent on this issue and many others. And the notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S., it’s just nonsense. And so he needs to reveal, and his firm needs to reveal, that contract. He needs to go through in detail what positions and advice he gave Freddie Mac, how they responded to that. And then also what advocacy, if any, that he undertook with respect to these issues with the United States Congress.”
– Gov. Tim Pawlenty
AUDIO: Pawlenty and Weatherford: Gingrich’s “Historian” Work for Freddie
Transcript of “Definitely Not A Lobbyist” conference call:
OPERATOR: “Ms. Gail Gitcho, you may now begin.”
GAIL GITCHO, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: “Thanks Claire and thanks everyone for joining today. I have Governor Tim Pawlenty on the line and also Florida Speaker Designate Will Weatherford, and they’re going to talk about Speaker Gingrich’s record and his work for Freddie Mac. And I’ll turn it over to Governor Pawlenty and then Mr. Weatherford and then we’ll take some questions and wrap up. So Governor Pawlenty, go ahead.”
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: “Great, thank you Gail. Good morning everyone, thanks for being on the call this morning. We’re going to talk this morning about Speaker Gingrich’s record in a couple of key areas. One, as Speaker and the other as his post-Speaker role as advocate and lobbyist and influence-peddler in Washington DC. And I think for Republicans and conservatives all across this country, a question is going to have to be as they consider Newt Gingrich as a potential nominee for president: really? I mean really? This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he is not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as the nominee or as a future president. Let me give you just a couple of example and then I’ll turn it over to Speaker-Designate Weatherford for his comments. If you’re going to be president of the United States, people have to understand your full record. They have to see it in user-friendly and transparent ways. Newt Gingrich has represented hundreds of clients and interest groups in Washington, DC since he left the speakership. We have very little insight and transparency as to what exactly he did for many for those clients, in many cases, for huge sums of money. To say that he wasn’t a lobbyist is an incredible hair-splitting. He’s been an advocate to the Congress trying to push influence in Washington, DC. In the case of Freddie Mac, he was lobbying Republican members or advocating with Republican members against Republican interests on one of the most difficult and unfortunate behaviors by the federal government in modern history, and that is their activities in the housing market. If you go down to Florida where the primary is going to occur shortly, one of the most devastating blows to the Florida economy in recent years of course has been the housing market. And on of the principle culprits in the demise of the housing market was the role of Congress and their government sponsored entities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and their role in the housing market. And now you have a candidate for the President of the United States, Newt Gingrich, who was paid $1.7 million by Freddie Mac and we don’t have insight or transparency as to what he actually did, what positions he took, what advice that he gave. His influence-peddling with respect to Freddie Mac to Congress, that needs to be revealed. And so he called upon Governor Romney to be transparent, well Speaker Gingrich needs to be transparent on this issue and many others. And the notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S., it’s just nonsense. And so he needs to reveal, and his firm needs to reveal, that contract. He needs to go through in detail what positions and advice he gave Freddie Mac, how they responded to that. And then also what advocacy, if any, that he undertook with respect to these issues with the United States Congress. And I think voters deserve to see all of that from Newt and more.
And then beyond that, he has a whole list of other clients that he should release all of the groups that have paid him for all of the reasons, over all of the years for lobbying and for advocacy, for issue work, for strategic development, release it. We should have a chance to know who he represented and for what purposes and at what price.
Governor Mitt Romney has turned the tables on Newt Gingrich:
TAMPA – A combative Mitt Romney on Monday broadened his call for Newt Gingrich to release records from his work as a consultant, speculating that those documents and records from the ethics investigation that led Gingrich to resign from the House of Representatives could show “potentially wrongful activity of some kind.”
“We could see an October surprise a day from Newt Gingrich,” Romney told reporters at a media availability here. “And so let’s see the records from the ethics investigation, let’s see what they show. Let’s see who his clients were at the time he was lobbying Republican congressmen for Medicare Part D.
“Was he working or were his entities working with any health-care companies that could’ve benefited from that? That could represent not just evidence of lobbying but potentially wrongful activity of some kind.”
“He said in a debate, actually, that people who profited from the failed model of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ought to give back their money,” Romney said. “Well, the speaker made $1.7 million in his enterprises from providing services to Freddie Mac. He ought to give it back.”
Here’s what Gingrich claims:
Gingrich repeatedly has said that he never lobbied lawmakers on behalf of Freddie Mac and health-care companies, saying he was paid for his services as a consultant and historian.
“I was not a lobbyist, I was never a lobbyist, I never did any lobbying. Don’t try to mix these things up. That fact is I was an adviser strategically,” he said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”
Earlier today Governor Tim Pawlenty and Florida House of Reps Speaker Designate Will Weatherford held a press conference call on Gingrich’s work as a “historian” for Freddie Mac. Pawlenty sums it up: “The notion that he was paid $1.7 million as a historian for Freddie Mac is just B.S. Newt Gingrich has represented hundreds of clients and interest groups in Washington, D.C., since he left the speakership. To say that he wasn’t a lobbyist is incredible hair-splitting.”
Romney hit Gingrich on his “highly eratic” style of leading:
He noted that Gingrich voted in favor of establishing the Department of Education, yet now says the department should be eliminated and its authority sent to the states. And Romney said Gingrich is “opposed vehemently” to the Massachusetts health-care system “and yet just a couple of years ago wrote about what a superb system it was.”
“He’s gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine, from item to item in a way which is highly erratic and does not suggest a stable, thoughtful course which is normally associated with leadership,” Romney said.
Pinball Policy Newt…
Romney speaking to the press in FL:
“By the way, saying that Newt Gingrich is a lobbyist is just a matter of fact. He indicates that he doesn’t fall within the narrow definition of lobbyists that he might have in mind. But if you’re working for a company, getting paid for a company through one of your many entities and then you’re speaking with Congressmen in a way that would help that company, that’s lobbying. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” ~ Mitt Romney
Romney’s new Florida radio ad features FL Atty Gen Pam Bondi:
Standing in front of a home-building supply business yesterday, Governor Romney kicked off his Florida campaign. And, he’s telling it like it is…
Mitt Romney: Newt Gingrich is a ‘failed leader,’ ‘disgrace’ Politico
Reid J. Epstein – Jan 22, 2012
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Mitt Romney landed here Sunday with a simple message: Newt Gingrich is a failure and a fraud. And a disgrace. And a hapless showman.
Standing under a brilliant orange Florida sunset, Romney delivered his longest sustained critique of the South Carolina primary winner to date – ticking through a list as if he were reading off Gingrich’s Wikipedia page, and undercutting each item as he got to it.
“Speaker Gingrich has also been a leader,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “He was a leader for four years as speaker of the House. And at the end of four years, it was proven that he was a failed leader and he had to resign in disgrace. I don’t know whether you knew that, he actually resigned after four years, in disgrace.”
Romney continued: “He was investigated over an ethics panel and had to make a payment associated with that and then his fellow Republicans, 88 percent of his Republicans voted to reprimand Speaker Gingrich. He has not had a record of successful leadership.”
Then Romney got into Gingrich’s post-congressional career.
“Over the last 15 years since he left the House, he talks about great bold movements and ideas,” he told the crowd of several hundred people gathered at a building materials company here. “Well, what’s he been doing for 15 years? He’s been working as a lobbyist, yeah, he’s been working as a lobbyist and selling influence around Washington.”
Epstein then writes that Romney then tore into Gingrich and his role at Freddie Mac and Florida’s real estate crash. Elaborating on Newt’s bombastic, bellowing stage presence, The Gov went straight to the heart of the election with this zinger:
“We’re not choosing a talk show host, all right? We’re choosing a leader, we’re choosing the person who should be the leader of the free world,” Romney said.
(emphasis added with relish) Read the entire article and leave pro-Romney comments here.
It’s high time Gov Romney revved it up! He’s got to. Get the truth out there and take no prisoners. Voters want passion. I’m thrilled.
And, regarding Gingrich’s pious baloney debate performance on Saturday night, leave it to Newt to get sanctimonious about cheating on two wives.
● What’s Romney up to today?
8:00 AM Roundtable on housing issues
Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Riverview Room, 200 North Ashley Drive, Tampa, Fla.
9:00 PM Debate hosted by St. Petersburg Times and NBC
4202 East Fowler Ave.,Tampa, Fla. Mitt Romney
36 economists rated Obama’s performance in handling the economy — 13 of them rated his performance “poor” and none rated him “excellent.” Surprise, surprise! (See graph to view the federal spending since Obama took office and projected spending).
Asked which of the Republican presidential candidates would do the best job managing the economy, two thirds of the economists named Romney, one chose former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The rest didn’t pick anyone at all.
Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics, says Romney, who ran a private equity firm before turning to politics, is the “hands down” choice among Republican presidential contenders squaring off in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
“Romney’s a technocrat,” Sinai says. “He’s not an ideologue. He has a history in the real world of business.”
As to Obama’s huge infusion of government stimulus funds, Sinai goes on to say,
. . . public works projects failed to pull Japan out of a long economic slump that began in the 1990s and continues today. After the money is spent, “you’re left with deficits and debt. And someday if you need new government stimulus, you can’t afford it. And that’s where we are now,” Sinai says.
The AP authors Wiseman and Kravitz state why economists so overwhelmingly chose Romney over all the other Republican candidates,
Many of those who chose Romney couldn’t cite any of the former Massachusetts governor’s economic proposals. Nevertheless, his background won over the economists. Romney graduated from Harvard Business School and served as CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting business in Boston, and Bain Capital, a spinoff investment firm, in the 1980s and 90s.”He has the experience that the other candidates lack,” says Harris of UBS Securities.
Some of his Republican rivals have taken unconventional positions. Texas Rep. Ron Paul advocates abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said it would be “almost treasonous” for Bernanke to try a third round of bond purchases to jolt the economy before November’s election.
Among Romney’s chief economic plans: repealing the Obama administration’s health-care law; cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent; and making permanent tax cuts on dividends, interest and capital gains from President George W. Bush’s administration.
“He thinks about the economy in a more global way” than his GOP rivals, Naroff says. “He’s not a rigid ideologue.”
No other candidate even compares to Governor Romney’s credentials when it comes to economic expertise!
If you have not already read this article as to why Evangelicals should support and promote Governor Romney, please read it.
“It is rare to find a business partner who is selfless. If you are lucky it happens once in a lifetime.” — Michael Eisner
While Governor Mitt Romney makes a final push in Iowa, his campaign released a new web video today titled “Davenport, Four Years Later.”
Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama said that he would repair the country and fix the economy. Four years later, it is clear that his policies have failed. It is time for this pessimistic president to step aside, so that American optimism can help rebuild our country.
Davenport, Four Years Later
Video: “Four years ago Barack Obama promised Iowas a brighter future.”
Obama: “To make sure that this is an America that works for all people.”
Video: “Nearly 25 Million Americans are Unemployed, Underemployed, or Stopped Looking for Work”
Obama: “If you’re willing to fight for that American dream for those who are still locked out.”
Video: “34 straight months of unemployment above 8%”
Obama: “Who still hunger for opportunity.”
Video: “Over 300,000 workers dropped out of the Labor Force in November.”
Obama: “If you are not willing to settle for what the cynics tell you you have to settle for.”
(*Video text taken from remarks during Romney’s speech in Davenport, IA yesterday. See below.)
Mitt Romney: “It was four years ago this week that Barack Obama visited Davenport. And he gave a speech right down the street.
He said he would repair the nation and repair the world. And then across the nation, he went on and promised that he would put Americans back to work. And then he closed his speech with these words: he says ‘This is our moment, this is our time.”
Well Mr. President, you had your moment. We have seen the results. And now, Mr. President, this is our time.
This election is about more than just replacing a President; it’s about saving a vision of America.
We still believe in an America that brings out the best in all of us, that challenges each of us to be better and bigger than ourselves.
It is time for this pessimistic president to step aside and let American optimism that built this greatest nation on earth, build a greater future for our children.”
*Romney delivered this excellent speech after rolling into Davenport, IA last night:
Four years ago this week, Barack Obama visited Davenport. He gave a speech down the street, and like most of his campaign speeches, it was long on promises.
He promised to bring people together.
He promised to change the broken system in Washington.
He promised to do away with gridlock.
He promised to repair the nation.
Across the nation, he promised to put Americans back to work.
He closed with these words: “this is our moment, this is our time.”
Well Mr. President, you have now had your moment. We have seen the results. And now, Mr. President, it is our time.
You have failed to deliver on the promises you made here in Davenport.
Where you once challenged us to reach for our dreams, you now ask us to settle for less.
Nearly 25 million Americans are still out of work or struggling to find work. The national debt stands at a stratospheric $15 trillion. The median income has dropped 10% in four years. Soldiers returning from war have a tough time finding a decent job.
Gone is the “hope and change” candidate of Davenport. Gone is the candidate who would heal the nation. Instead, the campaigner in chief divides Americans, engages in class warfare and resorts to distortion and demagoguery.
Once, Barack Obama appealed to our better angels; today he demonizes fellow Americans.
Over the last six months, I’ve been traveling across America. I’ve listened to anxious voices in town meetings, visited with students who are frightened by bigger college loans and fewer good jobs. I’ve heard stories of the The Great Obama Recession, of families getting by on less, of planned-for retirement replaced by jobs at minimum wage.
Entrepreneurs and businesspeople tell me that they feel under attack by this administration. Mom and Pop businesses are struggling under a government onslaught. The job creators of tomorrow are afraid to hire today.
But even now, amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression, I’ve rarely heard a refrain of hopelessness. Americans know that these troubled days are not our destiny. We know that America is bigger than the misguided policies and weak leadership of one man.
This election is about more replacing that President; it is about saving a vision of America. It is a choice between two destinies.
I have a vision of an America not divided by our limits, but united by our ambitions. I am tired of a President who wakes up every day, looks across America and is proud to announce, “It could be worse.”
It could be worse? Is that what it means to be an American? It could be worse? Of course not. What defines us as Americans is our unwavering conviction that we know that it can be better.
It is time for this pessimistic president to step aside and let the American optimism that built the greatest nation on earth, build a greater future for our children.